OECD Business and Finance Outlook 2017

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The OECD Business and Finance Outlook is an annual publication that presents unique data and analysis that looks at what might affect and change, both favourably and unfavourably, tomorrow’s world of business, finance and investment. Using analysis from a wide range of perspectives, this year’s edition addresses some forces influencing economic developments that have contributed to recent surprises in elections and referendums. A common theme of these surprises has been voter discontent with globalisation and immigration that are perceived to be causes of unemployment and falling living standards for substantial segments of society in a number of OECD countries. This Outlook’s focus is on ways to enhance “fairness”, in the sense of strengthening global governance, to ensure a level playing field in trade, investment and corporate behaviour, through the setting and better enforcement of global standards. A brief review of important developments contributing to post-war globalisation is provided and a number of policy domains are covered. These include exchange rates and capital account management, financial regulation since the global financial crisis, the rising weight of state-owned enterprises in the world economy, competition policy to deal with international cartels, the cost of raising capital, responsible business conduct and bribery and corruption.



Protecting and promoting competition in a global marketplace

The globalisation of business activity is generally associated with an increase in competition, as businesses reach beyond their borders to offer goods and services to new markets, encouraging cost reductions and innovation. However, while multinational firms operate on a global scale, the competition rules that protect consumers, and economic efficiency, do not. Thus, competition policy and law enforcement requires international cooperation to match the scope of potential competition problems. This chapter describes four areas in which market distortions can be addressed with a common commitment to the promotion of competition: investigation cooperation for cross-border cartels, addressing taxation and SOE policies that interfere with competition, careful design of public interest review mechanisms for mergers, and the consideration of the impact of export cartels. The OECD instruments on international cooperation in competition law enforcement, hard-core cartels and procurement bid-rigging, can help achieve these outcomes.



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